GEA's Innovation management process
GEA offers a wide range of components, systems and process equipment while never tiring of improving them in terms of resource efficiency, flexibility, quality and costs. GEA has defined around 200 core technologies that offer tremendous potential for optimization, also when combined with other technologies.
As part of the realignment of the group’s structure, GEA adjusted its innovation process and revised the set of key performance indicators. In the year under review, GEA defined a unified company-wide innovation process and commenced roll-out. As a result, particular emphasis is placed on further evolving the first stages (“front end”) of the new innovation management scheme, i.e. the systematic generation of ideas as well as a feasibility check. For instance, this includes advanced issue resolution and tools for more and better ideas, the systematic analysis of market and technology-driven trends and customer needs as well as a new state-of-the-art idea management platform.
For gauging the success of the resources allocated to the field of innovation across the entire company, GEA relies on key performance indictors along the “innovation funnel“.
At the end of 2017 there were approx. 300 active ideas or projects in the “front end” and “foundation” phase, with around 240 future product innovations undergoing the “development” and “go-to-market“ phase. Another example is the revenue generated by new products and technologies that are less than three years old: for typical GEA product groups its share is on average 20 percent.
At the drinktec 2017 trade fair, GEA showcased its “Brewery 4.0“ concept designed for the brewing industry of the future. It combines the process of continuous beer production with just-in-time production technologies while harnessing the potential offered by digitalization. Brewery 4.0 aims at affording customers maximum flexibility along the supply chain while simultaneously reducing the level of tied-up capital. In doing so, GEA considers aspects of sustainability that involve both the handling of the raw ingredients malt and water as well as the energy and space required by the respective plants.